Apr 30, 2022
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Pepe Escobar: The mystery of the sinking of the missile cruiser Moskva

In the photo: missile cruiser "Moskva"

Pictured: Moskva missile cruiser (Photo: DPA/Picture-alliance)

Neither NATO nor Russia tell us what really happened to the Moskva, the legendary flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.

NATO – because, theoretically, they know it. Moscow, for its part, has made it clear that it will not say anything until it is certain of what has happened.

One thing is certain. If the Russian Ministry of Defense finds out that NATO did this, then they will unleash all the dogs from hell on NATO – “asymmetrically, lethally and quickly.”

About the location of “Moskva”: the ship was located next to one of the 3 drilling rigs used to monitor the entire sector of the Black Sea using hydrophones and the NEVA-BS radar – next to the westernmost of them, BK-2 “Odessa”, approximately 66 km northeast of Zmeiny Island. All this was integrated into regional monitoring systems. Literally everything was controlled: ships, low-flying targets, smaller echoes, even the bobbing head of an unsuspecting swimmer.

So the chance that anything – let alone subsonic Neptune missiles and Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicles – could slip through this air network was pretty slim.

So what could have happened?

It could have been some kind of underwater drone, either launched by some cunning submarine, or by an SBS* crew that had arrived from the west coast with a stopover on Serpent Island. Then this drone somehow managed to drill through the Moskva’s hull from below – and detonated its explosives from the inside.

What follows comes from a highly placed source in Brussels – a serious, trustworthy individual with a proven track record spanning nearly two decades. However, he may just be spreading disinformation. Or brag. But it can also be trustworthy information.

Before we get started, we should note that the tale of “Neptune” or “Bayraktar” is hard to believe. In the end, as we have seen, in the direction of Odessa, the Russian fleet established a multi-layered layer of surveillance and defense.

“Moscow” was not far from Odessa, closer to Romania. A year ago, the source claims, a new radar with a phased antenna array was installed on the ship: its coverage range is 500 km. According to the standard Ukrainian narrative, Moskva was first hit by a drone, radars and antennas were destroyed. “Moscow” has become half blind.

Then, according to the Ukrainian narrative, they launched two Neptune cruise missiles from the shore. Guidance was carried out by the NATO “Orion”, which hung over Romania. The missiles approached the ship with their homing heads turned off so that the radiation beam would not be detected.

So we have targeting from a NATO Orion transmitting precise coordinates, which resulted in two hits and subsequent detonation of ammunition (this part is recognized by the Russian Ministry of Defense).

strategic strike

“Moscow” was on combat duty 100-120 km from Odessa, controlling the airspace within a radius of 250-300 km. Thus, in fact, this ensured the overlap of the southern half of Moldova, the space from Izmail to Odessa and part of Romania (including the port of Constanta).

The position of the ship was as strategic as possible. “Moscow” prevented NATO from secretly transferring military aircraft (helicopters and fighters) from Romania to Ukraine. The ship was monitored 24/7. NATO air reconnaissance was fully occupied with this.

As the killer of “Moscow” NATO, perhaps, would not have chosen “Neptune”, as Ukrainian propaganda spreads. The source points to the fifth-generation NSM PKR naval strike missile (a missile with a range of 185 km developed by Norway and the United States).

The source describes this missile as “capable of reaching a target along a programmed route thanks to an inertial navigation system with GPS tuning, independently finding a target, flying up to it at a height of 3-5 meters. Upon reaching the target, the NSM maneuvers and creates electronic interference. A highly sensitive thermal imager is used as a homing system, which independently determines the most vulnerable spots of the target ship.

As a direct consequence of the attack on “Moscow”, NATO managed to reopen the air corridor for the transfer of aircraft to the airfields of the Chernivtsi, Transcarpathian and Ivano-Frankivsk regions.

In parallel, after the destruction of “Moskva”, the Black Sea Fleet, according to the source, “seems to no longer have a ship equipped with a long-range anti-aircraft missile system.” Of course, the three-band Sky-M radar system is still operating in Crimea, capable of tracking all air targets at a distance of up to 600 km. The question arises whether this is sufficient for all Russian tasks.

So what do we really have here? Fantasy or reality? There was only one way to find out.

I passed the information to the invaluable Andrey Martyanov**, who knew “Moskva” as “Slava” in 1981, when she stood in the Northern Bay of Sevastopol. Martyanov stressed that at this stage, no one really knows what happened. But he made some important remarks:

“According to NSM (if we accept this version), even with its low observability and GPS guidance under normal conditions (that is, the sea to a state of 5-6 points) and normal radio penetration, even the old Moskva radar would see these missiles at a distance tens of kilometers, somewhere between 15-20km – for sure. The NSM, like any NATO anti-ship missile, is subsonic, with a speed of approximately 300 meters per second. This leaves, even at a distance of 15 km, 45 seconds to detect a trace and develop a shooting solution for any “on duty” AD complex ***. There was more than enough time to respond.”

Martyanov also emphasizes: “It is impossible to hide the external impact of an anti-ship missile – it will immediately be clear what hit the ship. Moreover, in order to hit and sink a target like the Moskva, you need to fire a volley, and not just two missiles; probably at least 3-4. In this case, Russia would know who attacked Moscow. NATO knows? I am sure that NATO is written in capital letters on this whole event, if it is not an internal sabotage, which at this stage absolutely cannot be ruled out. I am sure that if all the systems were in working order, they would have seen the volley.

Which brings us to the inevitable turning point: “If NATO was involved, then I am sure we will see some kind of retribution, after all, as I constantly state, American bases in the Middle East and elsewhere are nothing more than fat prestigious goals”.

So get ready: maybe something deadly “asymmetric” is about to appear.

Author: Pepe Escobar – Pepe Escobar – geopolitical analyst, special correspondent of the Asia Times portal.

Translation by Sergei Dukhanov.

Published with permission publisher.

* Special (special) boat service (Eng. Special Boat Service), abbreviated as SBS) is a special forces unit of the Royal Navy of Great Britain.

** American blogger, journalist, researcher, analyst, author of numerous books on the decline of the US and the West. Graduated from the Caspian Higher Naval Red Banner School named after Sergei Mironovich Kirov (Shturmansky Faculty) in 1985,

*** Active Denial System (ADS).

Free Press continues to publish translations by authors from alternative Western media. This is far from the propaganda that is printed in CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other “authoritative” media resources. If you are interested in learning more about these authors, you can look here.

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